The Benefits of Having A Sponsor

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Having a sponsor in recovery can provide many benefits. Sponsorships are usually formed between someone who is more experienced in recovery (the sponsor) and someone who is less experienced (the sponsee). The point of sponsorship is for sponsors to share their recovery wisdom with their sponsees. This is meant to be a mutually beneficial relationship that enriches your sober life and broadens your support network.

The idea of sponsorship developed from the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-Step program. However, it is also practiced among other types of recovery programs and communities.

You might be interested in finding a sponsor if you're looking for a person who can guide you along your post-treatment recovery journey. Having a sponsor can provide you with support in between meetings, like when you have a 2:00 am question about adjusting to a life of sobriety.

How to Find a Sponsor

Sponsorship is defined as a continuing relationship with a more experienced member of the recovery community. A sponsor should be someone you feel comfortable opening up to about your recovery journey and history with substance use. They should be someone you trust with your feelings and a person whose advice you value.

There are no specific rules about who you should pick as your sponsor. However, it is generally recommended to pick a sponsor who has at least one year of sobriety under their belt. A sponsor should serve as a recovery role model and live a life you aspire to.

You can search for a recovery sponsor during any recovery community event. For example, you could find a sponsor in a support group meeting or an aftercare program. Asking someone to be your sponsor isn't a formal process. You can ask someone after a meeting, via phone call, or by text. Most people will be excited about the opportunity to sponsor somebody. They'll likely be grateful that they can give back to the recovery community and honored to be considered a role model.

The Benefits of Having a Sponsor

There are many benefits of having a sponsor in recovery. Generally, the goal of a sponsor relationship is to provide you with intimate support along your recovery journey. A sponsor will have a personal understanding of the ups and downs of recovery. They should also be deeply invested in you as a person.

More Specific Advice

Over time, they can become someone who understands your journey on a more intimate level and can therefore provide more specific support. Since your sponsor has a better understanding of your strengths and weaknesses, they can give you advice that is tailored to your specific situation. This gives them the ability to provide an important perspective on negative thoughts, behaviors, or feelings you may be experiencing.

Greater Accountability

A sponsorship can provide both you and your sponsor with a source of accountability. Having a sponsorship relationship means showing up for one another and checking in. It's difficult to hide your problems from a person who both knows the potential pitfalls of the recovery process and knows you on a personal level. A sponsor will be able to more easily identify when you're slipping into old unhealthy habits that can lead down a path to relapse

The Benefits of Being a Sponsor

Sponsorship relationships can be beneficial to the sponsor. After all, being a sponsor can help them stay connected to the recovery community. Sponsees often serve as a reminder of where their sponsor has been and how far they've come in their recovery.

Having a sponsee also provides meaningful motivation for sponsors to be the best version of themselves. It reinstates their commitment to sobriety. To be a good sponsor, they'll have to keep participating in recovery meetings and events. By doing so, they set an example of what life in recovery can be like.

Growing Your Alumni Network by Having a Sponsor

Having a sponsor can serve as a bridge to meeting more alumni and becoming more involved in the recovery community. Your sponsor can share the resources they found helpful. They can introduce you to other people in the recovery community, further strengthening your support network. The more connections you have with the recovery community, the more recovery perspectives and emotional management tools you can learn.

Strengthening your connection with the recovery community might help you find a greater sense of belonging and purpose. Finding community is important for a successful recovery. It can fulfill your social needs and give you a sense of identity.

Being connected with the recovery community can also make it easy to give back. Recovery groups often emphasize the importance of helping other people in the recovery community. Sponsorships can give you a sense of purpose which will boost your self-esteem and give you more confidence.

Having a sponsorship during your recovery can provide you with support, accountability, community, and meaningful friendship. A sponsor can help you manage your substance use disorder symptoms and prevent relapse. Pathways Recovery Center prides itself on creating a safe space for peers to connect and find community. We provide alumni services such as referrals to aftercare programs, recovery groups, and sponsors. Pathways Recovery Center also offers a sober living program where you'll have the opportunity to connect with others in the recovery community. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call (888) 771-0966 to learn more about how we can help you have a successful recovery by meeting you where you are.

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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